The Ecumenical Commission for Human Development (ECHD) and the Pakistan Partnership Initiative (PPI) jointly organized a three-day capacity building workshop at Lahore’s Hotel One on the very important topic of sustainable development goals through the perspective of the Christian faith as well as the Holy Bible.
The sustainable development goals or global goals, initiated in 2015 by the United Nations, are a collection of seventeen interlinked objectives designed to serve as a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
Asher Gill urges all to become a humanitarian instead of being a humanist
Quoting examples of Missionaries of Charity founder Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu and founder of 157 leprosy clinics across Pakistan Dr Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau, speakers called social teachings of Christianity as a way of life for humanity and a peaceful coexistence.
Pakistan Partnership Initiative representative Asher Shahzad Gill shared importance of global goals in addressing issues and highlighted the key role of young people and the impact they can make. He urged the participants to become a humanitarian, instead of being a humanist.
Explaining his views, he said that the humanitarianism was primarily concerned with providing immediate assistance to those in need, often in crisis situations, whereas humanists believe in a secular and ‘non-religious’ worldview that centers on human values and ethics.
Referring to the ‘doctrine of trinity’, Forman Christian College University (FCCU) faculty member Naureen Akhtar briefed about the role of young people in promoting environmental stewardship. In her address, she called ‘patriarchy’ as a main reason to destroy human relations as well as environment in the one way or the other.
“We can easily observe that our youth is generally ignored in implementation of the sustainable development goals,” she said, adding that church stays alone, refusing to work with fellow churches to accomplish these universal objectives. “I want to say here that the church focuses on sin, shame and guilt instead of addressing these issues or collaborating with the government.”
James Rehmat suggests empowerment and engagement of young people in global goals through a faith-based approach
Addressing the participants, Ecumenical Commission for Human Development Executive Director James Rehmat said that the workshop aimed to provide a platform for youth empowerment and engagement in sustainable development initiatives through a faith-based approach.
“We wanted to educate young people about the principles and values of the Holy Bible that support the global goals and inspire them to take appropriate and affirm actions,” he said, adding that it aided in equipping young people with practical skills, knowledge, and tools to contribute to the global goals-related projects and initiatives in their communities.
The participants, hailing from Punjab’s different area, inquired how industrialization should be pursued in a sustainable and inclusive manner to avoid negative social and environmental consequences. They attended ecumenical prayers services on caring for creation, compassion and justice and discussed how scripture make connections with the global goals.
They suggested holding public gatherings on sustainable development goals, writing articles, kitchen gardening, designing posters, social media activism, recycling water, using cloth bags, virtual seminars, and using renewable energy. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan has dropped seven positions in the Human Development Index (HDI) ranking for 2021–2022, according to the recent UN Human Development Report.